Fitch lowers mineral output forecasts for 2020 in light of mine stoppages

19th March 2020 By: Marleny Arnoldi - Creamer Media Online Writer

Research agency Fitch Solutions has revised downwards some of its mineral production forecasts for this year, in light of increasing operational disruptions while Covid-19 continues to spread globally.

For example, Fitch revised its production forecast for copper to 20.28-million tonnes, from the 20.3-million tonnes expected previously. It also expects a decline in nickel production to 207-million tonnes, compared with its forecast of 269-million tonnes previously.

Fitch says it particularly sees heightened risk of reduced personnel flow and supply chain disruptors, owing to government actions, leading to a reduction or halt in mine production.

“While countries are implementing measures at their own respective pace, we have seen operational disruptions consistent across countries that have had a greater affliction to the virus and instituted more drastic measures,” the agency explains.

For example, some Chinese mining operations had remained closed for additional weeks following the end of the lunar new year, while in Italy, a countrywide lockdown had been instituted.

In terms of a mining response, Alta Zinc had shut its Gorno project, based in Italy, entirely, while Barrick Gold began putting procedures in place to restrict mine access and screen employees and contractors at each of its operations globally.

Freeport McMoRan also announced a temporary work stoppage at its Cerro Verde mine, in Peru, owing to government’s national emergency decree.

Anglo American announced it would slow construction at the Quellaveco copper project, in Peru, for 15 days, while Newmont Corporation would ramp down mining operations at its Yanacocha gold mine, also in Peru.